I think I have a bad case of satisfaction survey fatigue. While I appreciate everyone wanting to know if I am happy with the service they’ve provided me, I’m tired of being asked to participant in a satisfaction survey every time I interact with my bank, my insurance company, my mechanic, or my doctor.
Case in point: a couple of weeks ago I took my car to the dealer for a scheduled tune-up. The service was fine, though I did get a little annoyed that it took them longer than originally estimated. When the service was complete, the technician asked if there was any reason I would not give them a top rating for the service performed. The appointment had taken a couple of hours longer than anticipated but since I was beyond ready to leave, I simply replied, “No, it was fine.”
A few days later a survey company called and asked me to rate my visit to the dealership. I extended an overall score of eight out of 10. The surveyor asked why it was not a 10, so I mentioned the extended length of the appointment. In the middle of my explanation the call dropped. I was secretly relieved since I had better things to do than waste more time reliving my earlier time-wasting afternoon at the dealership.
Unfortunately, the surveyor called back. I declined the call. He continued to call back multiple times a day for several days. Each time I saw the number I declined the call. It’s not that I was trying to protect the dealership from a negative review. I was simply tired of all these people asking me to take time out of my day so I could help them improve the customer experience.
More of my healthcare providers are implementing programs to gauge patient satisfaction. Last month I had a medical test that lasted about two hours. Everyone was nice and thoroughly explained what was being done, and I had no complaints. A couple of days later I received an email requesting a review of the visit. I must confess I deleted the email without even glancing at the survey. Did I mention the test took two hours? I chose not to participate because I had no more time to waste.
I realize that I may be impacting people’s compensation by withholding my positive opinions. Then again, maybe I am the only happy consumer out there that ignores all these pleas for feedback. If I were a provider, I would want to believe that none of my happy patients suffered from satisfaction survey fatigue, especially since newer compensation models are factoring in patient satisfaction levels.
According to The Medical Group Management Association, about three percent of primary care physician pay and 2.31 percent of specialty physician was tied to patient satisfaction in 2013. That’s a relatively small portion but as provider compensation continues to shift from fee-for-service to reimbursement models based on outcomes, patient satisfaction will no doubt factor more heavily. As more providers jump onto the patient satisfaction survey bandwagon, satisfaction survey fatigue may rise to an all-time high. The exception, of course, will be unhappy patients, since disgruntled consumers tend make time to voice their complaints.
I assume policy makers realize that clinical outcomes, good medicine, and patient satisfaction are not always correlated. For example, I suspect certain patients are happier if handed a prescription for an antibiotic, even when the antibiotic is not necessarily clinically appropriate. Other patients may express dissatisfaction with their physician if denied a request for an opiate pain medication or an expensive test. If a doctor falls behind in his/her schedule because of an emergency work-in, plenty of patients will be unhappy with the extra wait.
Some software vendors game the KLAS survey process to their advantage; will providers do the same with patient surveys? What can providers and policy makers do to minimize satisfaction survey fatigue to ensure the results accurately portray the opinions of their patient population?
Perhaps someone needs to do a satisfaction survey on satisfaction surveys to figure out the answer.
Michelle Ronan Noteboom
Latest posts by Michelle Ronan Noteboom (see all)
- Health IT and the parallels of presidential politics - March 29, 2016
- Health IT Rantings and Ratings - February 16, 2016
- Transparency in healthcare: it’s time - February 2, 2016